I'm quite sure you would like some pictures to illustrate this little adventure story. Sadly, there are none. I could have taken some but didn't because I can't actually get pictures off my camera right now due to some computer issues. Once I get that sorted I'll arrange for some modelled shots so you can see for yourselves how pretty these turned out.
While I did not meet my Olympic knitting challenge, I did finish the Diamond Gansey socks for Frog. They are his first pair of handknit socks and therefore needed to be special. He is indeed a gem of a person, and has been an incredible, staunch friend who more than deserved a lovely pair of handknit socks.
I used Sandnesgarn Sisu, in light grey. This yarn does tend to be a bit splitty but was nothing that my pointy knitpicks dpns had trouble with. Knitters using blunt tipped needles may have difficulty. Sisu really is your average ordinary workhorse yarn. It's cheap (C$4.99/50g ball), comes in a big variety of colours, is machine washable and dryable, and reminds me very much of Opal (perhaps slightly more "wooly" feeling). I'll likely use it again. I chose the Sisu for these socks because it was honestly the only pale solid washable yarn I had in the house. (Of course, halfway through the first sock I found some lovely pale blue-grey Regia Silk I had forgotten about in the stash. There are more gansey socks to be made.)
The pattern is from Wendy Johnson's book, Socks from the Toe-Up. I really do prefer working this direction for man-socks especially. I'd rather fudge the length of the leg and know the foot will fit than have to rip back into the leg and re-knit the heel and foot. Turned out that was good thinking. Frog feet are enormous compared to Africa feet. (Actually, they're enormous compared to swim fins.) I squeaked out the first sock by stopping at 6 diamonds and only doing 3/4" of rib. There was about a 10" tail left after the sewn bind off.
I was trying new techniques with these socks and the slip stitch heel was the most challenging. Remember the first time you turned a heel? Remember how the directions made no sense at all and you dutifully followed them, line by line, and then voila! you had a heel? That's pretty much what I did again; kind of a cool experience actually. I think I ripped that heel back 3 times before I was satisfied. Somewhere in that ripping and reknitting I must have managed to add a few rounds that went over the instep so when the heel was done I had about a half a diamond knit on the front. No problem - I just knit plain around the back until it was time to start the next diamond. The second sock went much more smoothly but somehow I was ready to start a new diamond right at the top of the slip stitch. Uh... ok.... that's what I wanted in the first place. Hmmmm.....
Honestly, I didn't have the mental capacity to linger over such details. I just kept going. By about the 5th leg diamond I had decided that the leg really needed to be longer if only to save Frog from handknit ankle socks so I picked up a third ball of the same dyelot and knit 8 diamonds and 1 1/2" of ribbing. Perfect sock!
Which of course meant that something had to be done about the first one. Fittingly, it went for a little dip into the frog pond. I ripped back to the start of the instep increases because that was the last point I was really sure I hadn't any extra rounds or mistakes. Since this was about my 5th time through the heel it went slick and sure enough ended at exactly the same point as the second sock had. Another little yarn note, the Sisu held up to all this knitting and frogging and re-knitting perfectly. The finished sock showed no signs of having been re-worked several times. I finished the leg in pretty good time, but missed the end of the Olympics by several days. It's a DNF for me, but the spirit of competition and the desire to finish prevailed!
Frog loved them. He said they make his feets happy. That makes me happy.
I set some pretty lofty goals for my knitting olympic challenge. Actually, at the time I set them I thought they were not only do-able but actually on the slack side. That was before I realized that the week of watching sports and knitting socks was going to turn into the last week my husband lived in this house. It was a bit stressful but, to his credit, was not unmanageable. Last night marked the end of my first week as a single parent. It's going ok.
Next up: I want a new cardigan. I prefer buttons to zippers. It should have some embellishment, maybe some cables, but not so much that the knitting is really slowed. I'm ok with a mostly stocking stitch sweater. Worsted weight is probably about right. Any ideas? I also need new socks for me. The last trip through the wash was the end for two pairs which now have giant holes walked into them. My turn.